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Norwalk elementary students to start school 15 minutes earlier

Cary Ashby • Jun 18, 2018 at 9:00 PM

The Norwalk elementary and intermediate schools will start 15 minutes earlier when the next academic year begins.

Main Street Intermediate School, which houses fifth- and sixth-graders, will go from 8:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. The three elementary schools — Maplehurst (kindergarten and first grade), Pleasant (second and third grades) and League (fourth) — will go from 8:45 a.m. until 3:15 p.m. School begins Aug. 23.

Norwalk City Schools recently announced the new times on its website, www.norwalktruckers.net, and on its Facebook page without a complete explanation.

The new times essentially are part of the new Norwalk Teachers Association (NTA) contract that the school board approved during its Feb. 22 special meeting. The contract allows for an increase in instructional time by 15 minutes per day for students in kindergarten through sixth grade.

Superintendent George Fisk addressed the situation earlier with the Reflector.

“Tentatively we want the students to go to school 15 minutes earlier, but get out at the same time,” he said in February. “The increased instructional time will allow for more flexibility to implement innovative practices as well as increase student achievement. District teachers and administrators will also collaboratively study and recommend improvements to maintain efficient staff utilization throughout the district.”

The three-year NTA contract provides for base-salary increases of 1.5 percent plus an increase in employee contributions to healthcare each year. The agreement starts July 1 and runs through June 30, 2021.

The NTA and district negotiating teams mutually agreed to use an interest-based bargaining process, which emphasizes working toward solutions and taking away conflict. Fisk and the teachers praised it for making the negotiations “very collaborative,” enjoyable, positive and productive.

“It was the perfect approach for us. The model looks to find answers, not take positions,” Fisk said in February.

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